Spike in pandemic baking creates a run on flour, yeast, and other baking staples
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Grocery shopping looks different these days with pick-ups, deliveries and physical distancing in effect.
Some customers might also notice some shelves looking a little bare than usual -- especially in the baking aisle -- where the pandemic is driving demand.
Shelves that would normally be full of flour are all but empty in some major grocery stores in the Maritimes -- temporarily out of stock as more and more shoppers begin baking at home.
"There's a lot more people spending time at home, looking for things to do, so a lot of them are turning to cooking and baking and that sort of thing, so it does create a demand for products like yeast and flour," said Jim Cormier of the Retail Council of Canada.
Cormier says the supply chain is "challenged" with COVID-19, and in some cases it could be taking a little longer to get products that are in high demand.
This week has been the first time a Rothesay, N.B., bakery has experienced some difficulties.
"It was with whole wheat flour," said bakery owner Alan Gladstone."White flour we can still get. They assure us that it's coming in, but it's more of a transportation thing."
In a statement to CTV News, the J.M Smucker Company, the company that produces Robin Hood Flour, says many of their retail partners are seeing higher demand for baking items like flour recently.
"As a result of this, some retailers have not been able to maintain consistent inventory of our flour products along with other popular products," the company said.
Says Cormier: "We're into uncharted territory in that it's becoming very difficult for supply chain experts to predict from one day to the next what the demand is going to be."
Gladstone says he and others are learning about the impact the pandemic is having on supply and demand.
"We're getting through it," he says. "It's just a matter of everyone figuring it out."